The internet makes it really easy to judge people. It's essentially the ultimate judging a book by the cover experience we have today.
People judge you based on followers, likes, posts, past work, websites and the list goes on.
When I first stared in the industry I was often very quick to judge people who were working on the albums I loved. It's natural to want to compete, or to become better at what you do. It's natural to even compare your work to others, perhaps even healthy. It can help us see where we are at and what we need to work on.
Judgement becomes unhealthy when we begin to jump to conclusions.
Let me explain....
When we create anything in life there is so much that goes into it, beyond what the public sees as the end result. In the music industry there are literally hundreds of steps that go into making a song that you can actually listen to on Spotify or the radio.
It's really easy to hear a song and go.... "I could have done that better, that doesn't sound great... why do they get to work on that.... I could totally make the vocal sound better".
I used to have these thoughts towards people. I used to compare work and assume that what I was hearing was their best. In one way it is their best, but in another way, you never know what was given to the person to work with.
Some of my largest projects have included sources that didn't sound great. Some of them have included vocals recorded outside behind a venue, some have included tempo changes and time stretching beyond what is normally accepted. Some of them have included so much manipulation that you wouldn't even recognize the original material. Some projects you get a list of demands from A&R, Managment, and PR, and the artists best friend who sells insurance that you feel like are completely crazy but at the end of the day it's not about you. It's not crazy at all.
If you are going to survive in any self employment adventure you have to get a couple things in your head. Make these your mottos....
I am here to serve the artist.
There is always more beneath the surface.
These two things will change your life and make you a better person and give your clients a better end product.
When you take on a project of any type, you are hired to serve the person. They are hiring you to do a thing that they want done in the way they want it done. You are given tools, resources, files, etc... and you have to take that and make it the best it can be. There's not time for excuses or complaining. If you are serious, you will accept what is given to you, knock it out of the park, deliver on time, and make the client into a raving fan.
If you badger the client, tell them why it's not perfect enough for you, or you begin to judge them for what they gave you to work with, you lose.
You are here to serve the client.
Within this, whenever you see someone else's work, you literally have no idea what actually happened to get that product out. You don't know the conditions, the timeline, the budget, the situation. All you get to see is the final product.
So often we let bitterness and judgement get in the way of our happiness and joy. I remember hearing a project from one of my favorite mixers and thinking.... "this doesn't sound very good, what happened?". In a nutshell, I eventually learned that the project was a nightmare, the sourcing was a nightmare, everything was bad. He didn't complain, he did the work, did the best he could and moved on. That's how it should be.
In this industry there is so much that happens beyond just the music. There are plenty of projects in the past where I felt like I was making revisions that hurt the song, now I realize it was just me trying to control everything and make every song have my stamp on it. We live in a world with billions of people and billions of songs... all sonically different. It's great.
This does not mean we just always lay down and take it, but my point is often people at high levels that we judge so critically are under a ton of pressure and have to please twenty people instead of one indie artist. I have learned this over the years that as I move farther up in industry, the more people get involved, the more competitive it gets, and there are way more things to do just beyond mixing or mastering. Me, five years ago would have crumbled under the pressure and the demands. Present me, has the experience now to handle and serve the client with ease. This came from a mindset shift to always serve the client and not judge what is given to me.
So next time you want to trash someones work quickly, just remember you know nothing about what went on creating that unique piece of art and that people will still love it, even if you are quick to judge it.
I am preaching to myself as usual. So go create, serve, and don't judge.
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